PART 1：Study Experience in International Bachelor Degree Program on Energy, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan（English）
Sandile is an international student from Swaziland and studies Energy Engineering in National Cheng Kong University (NCKU). In his introduction, he used three words to describe himself: easy-going, ambitious, and a thinker. Graduated from the most disciplined high school in Swaziland, Sandile became a competitive student.
Swaziland has long-term diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, which allows students from Swaziland to come study in Taiwan. In Taiwan, most of universities have Chinese Learning Centers (CLC), where international students can learn Chinese. When Sandile first arrived Taiwan in 2011, he enrolled in Providence University (靜宜大學) Chinese Language Education Center to learn Chinese before starting his formal degree. The following year, he enrolled in National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) and expected to graduate in 2016.
Sandile gave a brief introduction on NCKU and mentioned that NCKU ranked No.22 in Engineering and Computer Science around the world in 2014. Also, having 9 colleges, 45 departments, 82 graduate institutes, and 54 research centers makes NCKU one of the most prestigious universities in Taiwan.
Sandile decided to study Energy Engineering, formally known as the International Bachelor Degree Program on Energy, and officially established by College of Engineering in 2012.
The International Bachelor Degree Program on Energy is comprised of 50% Taiwanese students and 50% international students around the world. Sandile also mentioned that most of the core courses in Energy Engineering is similar to the core courses in Mechanical Engineering, such as heat transfer, thermodynamics, etc. But what makes the energy program in NCKU special are specialized courses in Renewable Energy, such as Photovoltaic, Wind Energy, Biomass, etc.
In addition to the academic strength, NCKU offers programs to help international students to transition to Taiwanese lifestyle. Amongst those programs is the Language Exchange program and the Buddy-Buddy Program. NCKU Buddy-Buddy Program arranges a Taiwanese student to buddy up with an international student to help the international students to get used to the life abroad and adapt to the local lifestyle.
Why Energy Engineering?
The primary reason behind Sandile’s decision in studying Energy Engineering is the country’s largest challenge – energy shortage. In Swaziland, both academia and professional practice has high demand of energy engineers to resolve major challenges in sustainable energy provision.
Aside from core courses, Sandile also conducted some researches and one of them was a research of Biochar in reducing CO2 emission from traditional energy harvest from coal. He also participated in a research in developing automated solar panel cleaner to tackle the issue of injuries and accidents during the cleaning process. He wants to utilize his knowledge that he gained in Taiwan to make solar water pumps for dry area during drought seasons in Swaziland with other students from Swaziland.
In the talk, Sandile mentioned that one of his favorite courses was Energy System Design, which was a 3-credit required course with a lot of practical works. Students who take the course will need to build a sustainable energy system or device. Aside from working hard on school works, Sandile also served as the captain of Energy Football team and took part in Energy Students Association.
Life in Taiwan
When Sandile first moved to Taiwan for school, he would only eat in McDonald and KFC because he is somewhat familiar with the menu. After he learned to speak Chinese, Taiwanese cuisine like fried rice and beef noodle soon became his favorite. In his years of living in Taiwan, he has adopted the local lifestyle in Tainan quite well that he can give suggestions like: riding a scooter would be much more convenient if you want to get around in Tainan.
In his gaining, Sandile would like to share three things with the viewers of his talk. First, the exposure to the new technology such as smartphones and Internet enabled him to learn more and faster from the Internet. Second, the cultural diversity in NCKU gave him many opportunities to interact with people from different culture. Last but not the least, traveling in Taiwan is one of the greatest experiences in Taiwan and he highly encourages international students take chances to get to know Taiwan by traveling.